Oakland, show some love to Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, pillar of the community

Guests of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle greet each other at the entrance as they anticipate a wonderful evening of spirit-lifting music, culture and fellowship.

by Friends of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle

After receiving the budget memorandum for the City of Oakland for fiscal year 2021-2023, we are ecstatic about the allotments being awarded to the Malonga Center in Oakland to the tune of $500,000 for a feasibility study for renovations. Although the Malonga Center’s building is owned by the City of Oakland and not a privately owned Black business, this award renders more positivity in our community – and that is needed more than ever. 

We are also pleased to read that $30,000 will be included in the budget for a property condition survey for the Fire Alarm Building and proposed site of the Museum of Jazz and Art. The investment of $250,000 into the Black Arts Movement and Business District is a great start in the right direction of inclusion and assistance for the native African American community in Oakland.

However, there is a grave disparity occurring as it relates to self-supported Black-owned businesses – Geoffrey’s Inner Circle to be exact. Please donate here.

Geoffrey Pete

Geoffrey’s Inner Circle (GIC) has been in operation for 30 years in the city of Oakland with minimal to absolutely no support from city budget awards and allotments. Here is a list of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle’s qualifications for consideration for financial support from the City of Oakland:

  • GIC is a community anchor business that has been in operation for 30 years. In some Bay Area cities, community anchor businesses that have been in operation for more than 15 years are automatically eligible for city assigned funds for costs such as renovations, development and operation costs.
  • GIC is located at 410 14th St., which was the former Athenian Nile Club. This building has been classified by the City of Oakland as a historical landmark.
  • Lamumba Inc., the corporation that owns the building at 410 14th St., houses a total of 11 small businesses. Of those 11, nine are Black-owned and eight are ground floor, storefront locations. This actuality increases the gross domestic product (GDP) of and accrues tax dollars for the City of Oakland. These businesses, well known to the community, provide employment opportunities for residents, which in turn lowers the city’s unemployment rate.
  • GIC has contributed to the community in many ways. Over the years, GIC is responsible for many famous artists appearing in Oakland for concerts, stand-up comedy and performances. GIC has also served as a haven for the most underserved members of our community by preparing hot meals for free as well as providing employment for formerly incarcerated individuals. In doing this, GIC lowers the risk of previously incarcerated individuals reoffending and improves the city’s crime rate.
  • Owner Geoffrey Pete, among many other awards, was nominated and chosen as a recipient of the Jefferson Award for Community Service in the City of Oakland and was named a Pillar of the Community by the Oakland Indie Awards.

The beloved Black-owned businesses at 410 14th St. have improved the landscape of downtown Oakland. It is imperative that they be included in the City of Oakland budget for fiscal year 2021-2023. 

Geoffrey’s wins the Jefferson Award.

Geoffrey’s Inner Circle is requesting that $500,000 be allotted from the current fiscal year’s budget to assist with reopening after being closed for over a year due to COVID-19 lockdowns, renovations, repair and other building and business ownership expenses. Furthermore, running a live entertainment business where the only parking options are short time metered spaces and pricey daily rate parking lots is extremely hard to navigate. 

The Loft area of Oakland near Jack London Square would be an ideal model of equitable parking for businesses such as Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. The businesses found in this region of the city have zero parking costs or restraints, aiding the business owners in maximizing their profitability.

The spacious main dining room at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle invites everyone to come and enjoy a very special evening. – Photo: Walta Gebrezghi

Geoffrey’s Inner Circle is the backbone of the Black Business District. No other business has been standing longer and contributed to the community more than Geoffrey’s Inner Circle.

Additionally, Joyce Gordon Gallery, one of the storefront locations housed in 410 14th St,. is a fine arts gallery that was founded in 2003. Over the nearly 20 years she has been in business, Joyce Gordon has showcased the most well-known, sought after pieces by world renowned and revered artists. 

A sea of smiles! These happy people are some of the volunteers and diners who came for Geoffrey’s free community dinner on Thanksgiving 2017. 

Joyce Gordon Gallery has been a beacon of light and inspiration for all who love the arts and artists alike. She has supported the youth in arts as well by encouraging their artistic growth and showcasing their work in her yearly festival called OYAE! (Oakland Youth Arts Explosion!) presented by The Joyce Gordon Foundation of the Arts. Joyce Gordon Gallery is also the location of the Arts Resource Library which presents the community with a plethora of arts knowledge and history. 

This is another community anchor business that qualifies for city funding assistance. The gallery is located at 406 14th St., inside a storefront location in the 410 14th St. building in the Black Business District.

The beloved Black-owned businesses at 410 14th St. have improved the landscape of downtown Oakland. It is imperative that they be included in the City of Oakland budget for fiscal year 2021-2023. 

Please support Geoffrey’s Inner Circle’s reopening in August 2021!

Friends of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle can be reached at info@geoffreyslive.com.